A Level Religious Studies Day

Candle Conference, Friday 5 March 2021

Please visit the Candle Conferences website to find out more and book tickets.  Chichester Cathedral is hosting this event.

Candle Conferences is passionate about Religious Studies and runs extremely popular events for students of A Level and GCSE throughout the UK. This study day has been specially designed for Year 13 A level students – covering topics specified by ALL ENGLISH EXAMINATION BOARDS for the full A Level in Religious Studies and focusing on developing higher-level AO2 essay skills -however, the event is also suitable for able and interested Year 12 students, including those studying towards CIE PreU / IB Diploma options.  No prior knowledge of these topics will be assumed… this is NOT a revision event, but aims to enthuse and extend your students, helping them to develop a love and holistic understanding of the subject and to entertain the possibility of studying a related subject at University. Full student notes will be provided and generous teaching resources will be provided for teachers to download.

“They are really excellent conferences- clear, coherent and extending talks upon all subjects linked with courses. A must for aspirational sixth formers.”

Sessions will include:

  • Piercing the Veil

This session will begin by considering the nature of God, showing how if God is eternal in the sense of being timeless, spaceless and wholly simple, as Aquinas’ ways to God suggest that God must be, the meaningfulness of Religious language comes into question. Apophatic theology will be evaluated along with the via negativa, before the session focuses on evaluating Aquinas’ doctrine of analogy. The session will conclude with an essay-planning activity.

  • What does meaning mean?

Moving forward to the 20th Century, the verification principle in its strong and weak forms will be explained along with the falsification principle as approaches to assessing meaning in religious language. Alternatives in the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein and RM Hare will then be considered and evaluated. The session will conclude with an online quiz on religious language.

  • Meta-Ethics: What does “good” mean?

After lunch, we will turn to the relationship between language and ethics, exploring different approaches to defining “good” – naturalism, intuitionism and emotivism – and how they relate to both normative ethical systems and ethical decision-making. The session will conclude with an essay-planning activity.


“This house believes the claim “sex before marriage is wrong” is meaningless!”

The final session will introduce the topic of Sexual Ethics, outlining Church teachings on sex before marriage and how the Natural Law and Kantian traditions on one hand and the Utilitarian and Situationist approaches on the other approach decision-making… before briefly considering the possibility of relying on conscience. Finally, students will be invited to contribute their own reasoned arguments in our lively debate.

NB: Presenter Dr Peter Vardy wrote popular textbooks “The Puzzle of God” (HarperCollins, 1999) and “The Puzzle of Sex” (SCM Press, 2009) and is a named scholar on both OCR and EdExcel specification for topics covered in this event.